Jan. 9, 2010

Box Score

MALDEN, MA -- Junior forward Matt Atsoff (Macomb, MI) scored with 20 seconds left in the third period to give visiting University of Massachusetts Boston a dramatic 2-1 victory over host Tufts in NESCAC/ECAC East men's hockey action on Saturday night at Valley Forum II.

Atsoff's game-winner capped a thrilling third period, which the Beacons had entered with a 1-0 lead. Just 1:15 into the third, Tufts tied the score at 1-1 on junior Mike Vitale's (Brookfield, IL) second goal in as many nights. He jammed in a pass from junior Zach Diaco (Rumson, NJ) at the right post. The teams then went back-and-forth in exciting action, combining for 37 shots in the period.

Tufts was awarded a penalty shot at 9:41 of the third when junior tri-captain Dylan Cooper (Colorado Springs, CO) was dragged down from behind on a break-in. On the penalty shot, Cooper made move to his left, but Beacons sophomore goalie Kevin Bendel (Denville, NJ) stayed with him and saved the shot to keep the game tied. Shortly after that, UMass Boston's Vinnie Jacona (East Stroudsburg, PA) controlled a bouncing puck at the blue line and broke in alone on the Tufts goal, but Jumbo sophomore Scott Barchard (Reading, MA) made the save.

The game seemed destined for overtime following those two stops, but Atsoff scored his sixth of the season with assists from junior Eric Tufman (Abington, PA) and senior Kris Kranzky (Glendora, CA). The win stopped a two-game losing streak for UMass Boston (6-4-1, 3-3-1 ECAC East), which is off to its best start since 1990-91 when it was 7-3-1, and it ended a six-game winning streak for Tufts (6-3-1, 4-2-1 NESCAC).

The Beacons had the better of play in the first period and grabbed a 1-0 lead on Jacona's fourth goal of the year at 6:47. He was wide open in front of the net and converted passes from sophomore Bryan Albert (Redlands, CA) and freshman Michael Crowder (Flint, MI). A scoreless second period followed, with both Barchard and Bendel making 11 saves.

UMass Boston finished with a 42-36 advantage in shots. Bendel made 35 saves for his second victory of the year. Barchard stopped 40 shots in the Tufts net.

The Jumbos next play a non-league contest at Johnson & Wales on Tuesday night (Jan. 12). UMass Boston hosts Castleton State College in an ECAC East game next Friday night on January 15 at 7:00 p.m.

Material in this report courtesy of Tufts University Sports Information